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Undefeated wrestler ready to be a Spartan

March 27, 2001

While perfection is something most strive for, it was something Williamston High wrestler Nick Simmons expected throughout his high school wrestling career.

“That’s what I planned to do ever since I started high school, go undefeated,” he said.

“That was the goal.”

While amassing that undefeated record in high school, Simmons captured four state championships - two at 103 pounds and two at 119 pounds.

Now that he has established himself as one of the greatest high school wrestlers in the history of Michigan, Simmons is coming to MSU in hopes of having similar success at the collegiate level.

He signed a national letter of intent Nov. 15 to come to MSU.

Not short on confidence, Simmons already has set some lofty goals when he becomes a Spartan.

“I plan on winning nationals all four (years),” he said.

Simmons said he chose MSU because of the future workout partners he has gotten to know and because he has established a good relationship with the coaching staff.

“We figured (MSU) was the best place for me to go - where they could get the most out of me,” he said.

Because he plans on trying out for the 2004 Olympic team, Simmons said he was especially looking forward to working with Cuban refugee and 1996 Olympic bronze medalist Alexis Vila, who MSU hired as an assistant coach in December to work with lightweight wrestlers.

“Hopefully he’ll help me out a lot and bring me to the next level,” he said.

MSU head coach Tom Minkel said like most wrestlers, Simmons will redshirt next year to adapt to college wrestling.

He said Simmons will take over for junior All-American Chris Williams at 125 pounds once Williams graduates next year.

“Nick is the most accomplished wrestler in the history of high school wrestling, and there’s been high school wrestling for a long time,” Minkel said. “To be the single most dominant wrestler of your sport and your division says a lot.”

John Fuller, writer for www.intermatwrestle.com, said Simmons “definitely was one of the top five or 10 recruits in the country.”

Fuller said with Simmons being able to step in for Williams after next year, the timing couldn’t have been better for the MSU squad.

“They addressed what they needed most (and) not many programs are able to do that,” he said.

While most young children have a basketball hoop or a hockey net in their driveway, Simmons has a wrestling mat and a weight room in his basement where he trains regularly.

“It’s good because we always have somewhere to practice and I always have someone to practice with - either my brother, the guys on the wrestling team, or my coach,” he said. “It’s just always good to have a mat handy.”

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